Dedicated fans and young indie enthusiasts alike turned up in droves last Wednesday for what would be another timeless performance from The Libertines.
With over fifteen years having passed since their self-titled album launched the band into garage-rock stardom, The Libertines had little to prove to the Leeds crowd except for their ability to remind fans of what made them so great in the first place. As fans arrived to an empty stage, tension in the air was palpable amidst rumours that guitarist Doherty would be absent after a recent drug-related arrest in Paris. How wrong we were.
Almost twenty minutes late, the band finally erupted onto the stage with timeless classics from ‘Up The Bracket’ and were met equally with adorning whoops from fans. I was gratified to see that the legendary on-stage chemistry between Doherty and Bârat still created an undeniable dynamism unique only to The Libertines. The band also proved that some fan favourites like ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘What Katie Did’ sound twice as good in a live and energetic setting.
Although the band maintained an admirable and youthful energy for most of the set despite their maturing ages, there were a few more tender moments that allowed for a cathartic pause; Bârat took to his grand piano for the slower ‘You’re My Waterloo’, with the rest of the band joining the serenade, arm in arm, around one mic. I swear, even the 7ft bruiser next to me shed a tear.
With the set running just short of two hours, it would be hard to claim any fan was disappointed. If the performance ultimately failed to attract a vast younger crowd, it still affirmed power The Libertines has to materialise a dedicated mature fanbase from across the nation, who arrived in a fleet of cross-country coaches. The performance was so solid and gratifying, I’m even willing to overlook them butchering ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ at the end.
All photos by Jessica McCarrick.